Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi has said the government, through its tourism masterplan, recognises Mzimba District’s Hora Mountain as a cultural tourism asset which has to be developed to enhance visitor experiences.
Speaking in response to Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa V’s call on the government and stakeholders to develop the mountain as a tourist destination, Usi said his ministry is working with other players in the tourism sector on the same.
M’mbelwa made last Saturday during this year’s Umthetho Cultural Festival at Hora Mountain.
Usi said the ministry recognises and appreciates the fact that the Ngoni king had offered for free to speed up the mountain’s development.
“However, for Hora to reach its full potential, certain basic support infrastructure such as access road, electricity and portable water will have to be in place whose mandate falls in other ministries. And as guided by the Malawi 2063, government is developing such infrastructure in phases.
“Considering that Inkosi ya Makosi offered land, my ministry will work closely with them to identify suitable investors for the development of the tourism superstructure,” he said.
Usi said his ministry will continue inviting tourists to patronise Umthetho and other cultural festivals that take place throughout the year.
“I further implore the media to join the ministry in spreading positive information about the event as a cultural tourism attraction and Malawi as a tourist destination,” he said.
M’mbelwa described Hora Mountain as a place of historical significance with great potential to contribute to the country’s development through tourism.
“This mountain has rich cultural history to us as Ngonis and we want people to come and appreciate what we are. It is also a great mountain for hiking with wonderful breathtaking views of different places up to Lake Malawi.
“We have the land that investors will get for free. All we want is for them to bring development here. This development will also contribute to the country’s economy. So we welcome both public and private investment,” he said.
President Lazarus Chakwera, who was guest of honour at the ceremony, also spoke about the importance of developing the country’s cultural tourism sector.
In a related development, M’mbelwa has hinted on plans to introduce Ingoma dance competition.
He said it was sad that ingoma was losing its roots.
“In the proposed competition, groups will be competing as part of reviving Ingoma to bring it back to how it was being performed by our elders,” he said.
M’mbelwa said the target was to have more youths participate in the contest.
Lovemore Shaba, one of the youths from Mombera Kingdom, welcomed M’mbelwa’s idea saying it will help in promoting Ngoni culture